Monday, 27, September, 2021

Review | The Last Love Letter

A feature based on a book of the same title, it doesn't surprise and disappoint

A long time ago, love letters were very important attitudes in the art of conquering your great passion. The fact is, they always return either in The notebook or in the trilogy For All The Boys I've Ever Loved. Nowadays, we just need a whats to communicate with the mozão, crush or @. However, for the plot The Last Love Letter, new romance from Netflix, inspired by a book by Jojo Moyes, the letters are essential for the development of the narrative that has just debuted in the catalogue. The plot is a classic novel that tackles themes like marriage, betrayal and how love can survive decades and not die. Although it has emotional scenes, the film is poorly constructed, the unevenness is glaring, the photography has certain problems… expectations were high and unfortunately the production was disappointing.

Read too Review | The Last Love Letter

Adapting works is not always an easy process. We know that keeping 100% from happenings is nearly impossible. But the differences between the original work and the adaptation need not be more evident than what has been retained. The film maintains the dynamics of past and present, where the past portrays the 1960s and the present, the current times. In the past, we see the plot narrate the steps of Jennifer, played by Shailene Woodley, who has an accident and loses his memory. She is the trophy wife of a famous businessman who treats her as if she doesn't exist or is insignificant. In current times, we see the character Ellie, played by Felicity Jones who embodies a bumbling journalist similar to Andy from The Devil Wears Prada (2009), conception that deviates a little from the original character.

In The Last Love Letter (2021), in addition to the chance reunions between lovers of the past, we see love letters hidden inside books or in shoeboxes, a villain capable of doing anything to drive away the couple in love, a misfortune of fate ends up driving away the lovers who they intended to escape their cruel realities. These are aspects present in both works. The film manages to convey this romanticism through kissing scenes in the rain or in moments of complicity between the characters. 

Crítica | A Última Carta de Amor 1
Shailene Woodley and Callum Turner are Jennifer and Anthony/Boot / Reproduction

If the objective was to attract attention, the feature was successful to some extent. Netflix's production manages to dazzle the viewer with the beautiful landscapes, costumes, hairstyles and we realize that escapism, the escape from reality is due to the purchasing power that permeates the environment lived by Jennifer and Anthony who embark on an extramarital romance. The soundtrack is not bad, but nothing too splendid.

In the narrative that takes place in the present, we see the journalist Ellie, a woman of unpredictable actions who happens to discover the romantic letters of Jennifer and “Boot”. Here we see an environment with a banal air and the connection between both characters is the idea that love lasts forever and is the only way to be truly happy. The story between Jennifer and Anthony/Boot is a fatal romance, with promises of undying love and full of fancy words. The story lived by Ellie is more relaxed and she even wins a suitor to call her own and show the viewer that love is the path that, despite being unpredictable, she believes in the strength of this feeling. However, we know that you can't live on love alone and here in the production there is plenty of it.

⁠I've never wanted to kiss someone so much, but when you looked at me, something changed. At that moment, I feared that our desires would destroy us. – Anthony O'Hare

The photography direction didn't work the aesthetics right. In the past, we've seen photographic construction with shades of blue and edges darker than the center of the scene. We see a heavy photograph and it gives the impression that it has a lot of filtering. You know that photo posted on instagram full of edits? Comes close. I believe it was not intended to distract the viewer, but the low sharpness of some environments, some blurred light points make the viewer stop paying attention to the character and what is happening to focus on the environment. There was no research and assertive analysis of the photographic aesthetics that could have been used in the feature. 

Already in the present, the images are satisfactory, but they are still dark. In the newsroom, the environment, even though it is neutral, of course, has good light and filters consistent with reality. However, when they enter Rory's small apartment (Nabhaan Rizwan) or Jennifer (Diana Kent), the camera enters a cave, it's so dark. Does the responsible team know how to differentiate a horror/suspense movie from a classic novel? We see that the choices in photographic composition are bad and not compatible with temporal segments.

Crítica | A Última Carta de Amor 2
Felicity Jones and Nabhaan Rizwan are Ellie and Rory / Reproduction

When I read the title, I had the impression that the novel was drinking from the work of The notebook in Nicholas Sparks. The actress Rachel McAdams demonstrates a little girl so in love with her boy Ryan Gosling and I came to believe that Jennifer in the film would be the equivalent, but Shailene Woodley was a bad choice for the character Jennifer, in addition to not having the physical characteristics of the character in the book, she is bland, not very expressive, uncomfortable in the character's clothes and she can't show the slightest affection for her daughter, which is the reason for her decisions and even with her lover, she is confused. Already Felicity Jones successfully enchants and thrills the funniest character in the plot. It features a timing amazing, she takes the character with a lot of reality and being a theoretically simple character, she knew exactly how to be provocative with her unpredictable journalist. 

We also feel a lack of balance with male actors. the talented Callum turner she shows aplomb on paper and enchants her gallant and passionate journalist. We should be happy for the presence of the British actor of Indian origin, Nabhaan Rizwan, due to the diversity, but he has a very shallow and lifeless character that looks nothing like the original character who is sarcastic and determined and not an expressionless suitcase. He gets involved with Ellie, helps her, but nothing else. The actor joel alwyn he played well Jennifer's husband Lawrence Stirling, who reprimands and ignores his wife. The secondary characters were misused…

⁠I've spent my life avoiding complications, especially the romantic kind. Having met you, I understand now that I wasn't living. It's hard to hear “I love you” but I have to say the words. They've been in my head all day, and if I can't say them, I'll write them over and over again. – Anthony O'Hare

The adaptation itself is weak, it deconstructed the essence of the book a lot, the big plot is the passion between Jennifer and Anthony and they don't work well on screen. Do you know when you have to pass a subject and do a half-assed job and take the equivalent to be average? That's it. The feature has more of the same, but it's not good. Few things save in this production and it's not the direction, script, photography or plot. If you expect something big, forget it.

Thunder Wave note
Adapting a work is always an arduous task. Although Felicity Jones and Callum Turner have stood out for their performances, the feature is disappointing, as it delivers less than it should. Disappointing!

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